Big Wins For ‘Transparent’ Make It Clear: TV’s Undergoing A Revolution

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Tina Fey, Margaret Cho and Amy Poehler onstage during the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards. Fey and Poehler hosted the awards for the third (and, they say, final) time.

Tina Fey, Margaret Cho and Amy Poehler onstage during the
72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards. Fey and Poehler hosted the awards for
the third (and, they say, final) time.

Handout/Getty Images


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Handout/Getty Images

Surrounded by his cast mates and the show’s executive producer, Transparent
star Jeffrey Tambor faced a crowd of journalists backstage at the
Golden Globe awards Sunday, and made the case for why his win as best
actor in a comedy meant more than a typical Hollywood honor.

“This
is about changing people’s lives,” said Tambor, who won his award
playing a 70-year-old coming out as transgender. Earlier, while
accepting his award on national TV, he dedicated his award and
performance to the transgender community.

But, revolutionary as it was to see a TV series about a transgender woman win two Golden Globes, Transparent also made history of a different sort on Sunday.

It
was the first wins for original programming by Amazon; a company better
known for selling books than making TV shows just a few years ago.

In
the quality original TV game, Amazon has often seemed a step behind
rival Netflix – unfocused and less sure of its brand. But the wins – Transparent was also named best comedy or musical series, beating HBO’s Girls and Netflix’s Orange is the New Black – served notice that Amazon is a player, too.

Seen
as an important award in the film world, the Globes also made some
strong statements about TV. There were no honors for the Big Four
broadcast networks – ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. Instead, Netflix saw House of Cards leading man Kevin Spacey finally take home a trophy as best actor in a drama, snapping a seven-time losing streak.

“I’m
very glad I’m not the Susan Lucci of the Golden Globes,” Spacey said
backstage, minutes after telling a nationwide TV audience: “I cannot
(expletive) believe I’ve won.”

The broadcaster who won biggest was the fifth network, The CW, which saw Jane the Virgin
star Gina Rodriguez named best actress in a comedy. It’s been a great
few weeks for Rodriguez and the show; she recently won a People’s Choice
Award and the network announced Sunday it was picking up Jane the Virgin for a second season.

But Rodriguez, who told me in July that she passed up a possible role on the Lifetime show Devious Maids
to wait for a part that would be less stereotypical, blossomed as a TV
star Sunday – answering questions backstage from the press in English
and Spanish, while stressing how her role has inspired other Latinas.

“There’s
no better way to tell others they can win too, but by letting them live
in your dreams,” she said. “When you … follow your dreams, you give
other the allowance to do it themselves.”

The Globes TV awards also seemed to reward what was new. Showtime’s The Affair, which debuted in October, scored wins as best TV drama and best dramatic actress for star Ruth Wilson. FX’s Fargo, which debuted in the spring of 2014, won as best miniseries and best actor in a miniseries for Billy Bob Thornton.

Best
of all, the Globes unfolded as a pretty good TV show itself; thanks
mostly to the ace hosting work of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. They had an
inspired cameo from Margaret Cho, playing a North Korean general/film
critic in a callback to her work playing Kim Jong-il on Fey’s series 30 Rock. And they even managed a Bill Cosby joke which was both bold and hysterical, turning on both women’s awful impressions of him.

Even
George Clooney, who was the butt of jokes from Fey and Poehler at this
year and last year’s Globes, said the two should host the show again –
though they have vowed not to do it again.

Much as some like to
hate on the Globes and group which chooses them, the Hollywood Foreign
Press Association, this time, they seemed to have gotten the TV end of
things very right.

In the process, they revealed just how
quickly the quality TV game has changed for some of the most powerful
players in the industry.

: NPR

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